CD: Metropolis 1927Music of Peter Graham
Black Dyke Band
Metropolis 1927 - Peter Graham
Black Dyke Band
Conductor: Dr. Nicholas Childs
Trumpet: Philip Cobb
Trombone: Peter Moore
Narrator: Dale Gerrard
Black Dyke Band’s latest CD release showcases a superb collection of compositions with a distinctly American theme from one of brass banding’s most popular composers, Peter Graham.
As opening tracks go, few can match the sheer impact of the Bruckner-inspired chords of On the Shoulders of Giants. Whilst perhaps best-known for its dazzling technical passages, it is the admirable control and immaculately smooth solo work of the central Elegy that really makes an impression in this case.
Narrator, Dale Gerrard’s slick American accent introduces the ‘noir’ world of Radio City, which features Peter Moore as trombone soloist. In three movements, City Noir evokes the cityscape of 1940s California and Moore’s deliciously dark tone is a joy to behold in the Glenn Miller-inspired Café Rouge. A galloping bluegrass Two-Minute Mile brings this fine bit of storytelling to a close and Philip Cobb then joins Peter Moore in Meditation, which many will recognise as the central movement of The Triumph of Time - an example of the composer’s gift for melodic writing.
The American journey continues with Paramount Rhapsody - a trumpet solo tribute to Harry James in typical ‘jazzy’ fashion, incorporating Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King. The combination of extrovert commitment and small, yet impactful musical inflections from soloist, Philip Cobb, makes for an outstanding première recording. Dale Gerrard again proves an atmospheric guide through New York Movie - seven musical scenes based on paintings by Edward Hooper. A vivid musical story is revealed, full of drama, suspense and rich musical colour, including such instruments as the piano and accordion.
The disc comes to a close with the title track, Metropolis 1927 - a musical response to Fritz Lang’s iconic film of the same name. This major test-piece has many familiar hallmarks, from the dramatic, driving opening, to the central cadenzas and beautiful melodic writing. On magnificent form here, Black Dyke and Nicholas Childs bring to life images of dark machine rooms, decadent nightclubs and towering skyscrapers with spine-tingling impact.
Recorded and performed to excellent quality throughout (although the uninspired booklet presentation is a bit of a shame), this highly engaging set of works has plenty for both the casual listener and the brass band enthusiast - a worthy tribute to this much beloved composer.
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This review appeared in the September 2018 edition of BBW. For more reviews, articles and news subscribe to BBW Digital, available to read online (annual subscription: £30), or subscribe to BBW's printed magazine delivered by post: £40 (UK); £68 (Europe); £81 (Rest of the World). Alternatively, receive both the Digital and printed editions combined: £55 (UK); £83 (Europe); £96 (rest of the world) - saving 50% on the Digital edition! Click here to subscribe!